The $13 million renovation project at Tarleton State University's O.A. Grant Humanities Building has a lot of people talking about the impact the improved building will have on students and the campus.
Construction began on the O.A. Grant building in the summer of 2013 and is being wrapped up just as faculty and staff are expected to begin moving from Davis Hall into the newly-renovated building between July 8 and 10.
"I've always loved Davis Hall; they don't build them like this anymore," said Kelli Styron, dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. "I have great memories in this building and in this office. I might be a little sad because of my fond memories, but the excitement is palpable. Everyone is chomping at the bit to get into the new building. With all of the technology that's available and all the opportunity for students, it's very exciting."
Originally constructed in 1973, the 41-year-old building has been undergoing the renovation of 11,920 sq. ft., and the addition of more than 30,000 sq. ft. including two additional floors above the existing auditoriums.
Educational facilities being added include a new writing center, learning and collaboration spaces, Department of Communication studies suite, Texan TV News studio and video podcast rooms.
"The newly-renovated building will certainly give us the opportunity for growth," Styron said. "We have newly-dedicated spaces for programs that have never had dedicated lab space before. No new classrooms per se, but we do have three new labs that are state-of-the-art and offer a lot of opportunities to our students, including a new public relations and event management lab and a new media convergence lab."
With faculty and staff expected to be moved in about mid-July, the building will be operational before the beginning of the fall semester, as will other construction projects on campus.
The improvements are something that Styron sees as a way for Tarleton to stand out to prospective students. "I often hear - but am tired of hearing - that Tarleton is the best-kept secret in Texas," she said. "When the construction fences are pulled up, the landscaping is complete and you have a new campus perspective that shows an increase in square footage and student opportunities, with the best faculty in the state, I don't think it will do anything but draw students, faculty, researchers and guests to our great university."